mothers and sons

Chiefs of the Clan Grant were the Lairds of Grant, who succeeded to the Earldom of Seafield and to the extensive lands of the Ogilvies, Earls of Findlater and Seafield. The coat of arms of Ogilvie Grant Earl of Seafield can be seen on the mausoleum closer to the church but not on the second... Continue Reading →

stables and steeples

Banffshire was one of the few regions in Scotland that remained Catholic after the Reformation. This also applies to the regions of Barra, South Uist and Moidart. Today, about one eighth of the Scottish population is Catholic. In most cemeteries, the separation is not really obvious, there are some, where it is and there are... Continue Reading →

a holy well and generous offspring

One thing seems to be peculiar about places in Banffshire: they tend to change names over time. This applies to Macduff and Gardenstown as well as to Botriphnie. The name of the village is of Pictish origin (Both Draighnigh), locals still use it to denote the parish. The place itself is now called Drummuir wich... Continue Reading →

bleedy pits

It was at the beginning of the last millennium, the Danes were still threatening the Scottish coast, and the clanchiefs were busy fighting off invaders after invaders. In 1004, the Danes invaded Banffshire and were received with horror as well as courage by the locals. There were not many places along the coast where a... Continue Reading →

The rise of Keith

The reign of King Robert saw the second major division between Aberdeenshire and Banffshire and the rise of the de la Keith family. After the war and the long period of securing his power, the king owed many. In addition to the long-established nobles, new families now came to influence and wealth, lands were freshly... Continue Reading →

heirs and honours

Anyone who has ever tried to google a Scottish town is likely to have made a similar experience: there is always another one with the same name, often significantly larger, in the United States, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. This also applies to the Royal Burgh of Banff in Scotland. There is another one in... Continue Reading →

the murder victim’s mausoleum

Gilbert Kennedy of Bargany and Ardstinchar, the last laird of the house Kennedy of Bargany, died on 11th December 1601. He was only 25 years old. The laird died no ordinary death - he was murdered. The murderer was his cousin. The murder was part of the long-running feud between the Kennedys of Bargany and... Continue Reading →

names and nemesis

Yarrow kirkyard Names locate people, especially in Scotland. Many of the big names are names from the Highlands, like MacDonald. In the south of Scotland, the picture looks different, other surnames established: Armstrong, Scott, Maxwell, for example. All over Scotland nicknames were given generously and just like in the Highlands, each Border clan has a... Continue Reading →

seven slain brothers

The Douglas clan was a powerful one in ancient Scotland, respected and sometimes feared. Mothers would use the name to pressure their children: Be good or the black Douglas will get you. They were called Black Douglas, for their inclination as well as their complexion; they were a rather dark-skinned family. One of the many... Continue Reading →

Campbell in Kilmartin

Many impressive gravestones are on display in Kilmartin graveyard, not to mention the famous crosses. But Kilmartin is also worth a closer look, one that takes you further back in history. There is one name that pops up on many of the gravestones is Campbell and the Campbells have a long and eventful history. If there... Continue Reading →

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